Sunday, 30 June 2013

Radipole RSPB - Sat 29 Jun

Down to the coast this afternoon and a visit to the RSPB reserve of Radipole Lake in Weymouth. I spent a couple of hours on the site and covered a fair bit of ground but there was not a massive amount around. Singing Cetti's Warblers were noticeable and I caught a view of a couple of Bearded Tits as they flew between patches of reeds.
I then spent a long time and walked what seemed like miles in an attempt to track down a drake Red-crested Pochard that had been seen earlier in the day. I drew a complete blank but managed to pick up a bit of info when I got back to the visitor centre (where a Common Sandpiper was feeding on the small island). So I set off for the north of the reserve and checked the channel that runs adjacent to Radipole Road. A female Marsh Harrier provided some interest and just as I was about to give up I found it, although just starting to moult in to eclipse plumage it was still a very smart duck and a nice end to a good day!

Ham Wall RSPB - Sat 29 Jun

Another attempt to try and see the breeding Little Bitterns at Ham Wall this morning, and this time I was successful! Within five minutes of arriving at the makeshift viewpoint I was lucky enough to see the female in flight over the reeds.
I then took a walk out to the second viewing platform where there were many fewer birds than on my last couple of visits. That being said I did see a couple of Hobbies and a Cuckoo was calling. Around half a dozen Lapwings were on the scrapes and the only other slightly unusual birds were a couple of Black-headed Gulls.
A female Marsh Harrier was quartering the reed beds and as I headed back towards the car I saw a male Marsh Harrier too. Another quick stop at the viewpoint produced brief flight views of the male Little Bittern. And to round off a good couple of hours a Great White Egret flew over the car park.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Morden Bog - Sun 23 Jun

Somewhere different for a morning walk today and a drive down to Dorset and an enjoyable stroll around Morden Bog. I was hoping for a few year ticks, but managed just the one as I was treated to some cracking views of two singing male Dartford Warblers...but I'd stupidly left my 'scope in the car so was unable to get any of my high-quality photos!!
A supporting cast of Tree Pipit and Linnet added interest whilst on the heathland whilst a few fly-over Siskin produced a splash of colour. A small family party of Mistle Thrushes were near the car as I completed the walk.
Very little else to see but there were half a dozen or so Small Heath butterflies on the wing.

Ham Wall RSPB - Sun 16 Jun

Another trip up to the Avalon Marshes and another weekend of failing to see the Little Bitterns...hopefully when/if they start feeding young they will become a little more obliging. Anyway, in the meantime I had to settle for some more routine fair and yet again the second viewing platform provided the pick of the birds. A drake Garganey flew in and showed briefly before vanishing in to the reeds and a couple of Shelduck were present. Two Black-tailed Godwits were the only waders of note.
Over the reeds I saw a male Marsh Harrier and the now expected Bittern and Great White Egret (how times have changed!!). A Cuckoo was seen distantly, with at least one other heard calling. All in all a good afternoon out.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

West Bexington - Wed 12 Jun

When news broke yesterday of a Caspian Tern at West Bexington I waited with baited breath for news today. The good news was that the bird was still present...the bad news, despite having an afternoon off work I had other commitments so could not head out until 4.00pm. The drive south was dismal with thick fog and rain and by the time I got to the coast the rain was falling steadily. To add insult to injury I was told on arrival that the bird had flown off ten minutes earlier. A walk east for nearly a mile produced nothing but a Fulmar so it was back to the car park. Whilst debating what to do next a couple of birders I had been talking to and who had decided to head back towards the mere started waving frantically and a five minute sprint then followed. And there it was hawking over the mere before following the beach eastwards right past us...a cracking Caspian Tern and a UK tick to boot...result!!!

Ham Wall RSPB - Sun 9 Jun

Yet another trip to Ham Wall and yet again I failed to see the elusive Little Bitterns! That being said I had a wonderful couple of hours out and about and bumped in to lots of Somerset birders.
On the bird front highlights included a couple of really good flight views of Bitterns, including one bird that treated me to a prolonged fly-past before alighting in to a reed bed. A Great White Egret also flew over.
From the second viewing platform I located two drake Garganey (one fast asleep with the other being a little more active) and two Shelduck amongst good numbers of wildfowl. A few Lapwing were also present from here along with single Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit.
I also saw a couple of Kingfishers as I walked back to the car and after chatting with a few mates I bumped in to headed back home for some much needed lunch!

Friday, 7 June 2013

Ham Wall RSPB & Meare Heath NNR - Wed 5 Jun

OK, so I guess everyone out there now knows why I've made three visits to Ham Wall in the past week...yes I was hoping to see the Little Bitterns...but I have failed every time! So what was present this afternoon, well a couple of Hobbies graced the skies and a Cuckoo was heard calling but there was not really much else about.
I decided to head back to the car park and take a walk out to Meare Heath and see if the drained lagoon held anything of interest. A total of fifty-three Black-tailed Godwits and twelve Lapwings accounted for the waders present. The birds of the day were fly-overs though, with a Bittern and Great White Egret both gracing the skies, albeit briefly, and before I knew it time was up and it was back home for dinner!

Thurlbear Quarrylands - Sat 1 Jun

This afternoon I made a flying visit to Thurlbear Quarrylands, just south of Taunton. I was hoping there might be some butterflies around as it was such a warm and sunny afternoon, but this was not to be the case. That being said during the thirty minutes I spent on site I was treated to that most stirring of summer songsters with three Nightingales blasting away from deep in the undergrowth. Unfortunately despite one of the birds singing from a bramble patch no more than six feet in front of me, it kept itself predictively hidden so I had to make do with simply enjoying the audio performance.

Ham Wall RSPB - Sat 1 Jun

A fairly early trip out today and I again found myself at Ham Wall. An enjoyable walk in the morning sun produced a few birds of quality with a few booming Bitterns and a couple of Marsh Harriers, including a sub-adult bird which has been making news on the Somerset Birds forum due to its missing flight feathers and damaged leg. As I walked on past the now famous "SVP", or second viewing platform, I located a single Spotted Flycatcher feeding up in the trees and looking rather smart (nothing like the thousand or birds that passed through Portland Bill this morning, but a single bird is better than nothing and was a year tick all the same!).
The walk back to the car failed to produce anything else out of the ordinary but it was good to get out and about on such a lovely day.